The Bible is full of examples of what it means to ‘walk humbly with your God,’ and they help us understand what Micah is instructing to God’s faithful community. But walking humbly isn’t an isolated instruction. Micah’s instructions are offered as one word of guidance, and to be faithful, we must follow all three of them in tandem.
To a nation that was broken with transgression, Micah offers three simple instructions. The second of which is to ‘love mercy.” As we hear the prophet speaking to us today, to a nation torn apart by transgression, what does it mean for us to ‘love mercy’ today? First, we have to know what is ‘mercy.’
Justice is the desire of God, maintained throughout the Biblical text. Both the Old and New Testament stories proclaim this as the will of God. But the text also makes clear, this is Godly work we are to participate in – as the prophets declare, we are to be ‘doing’ justice.
We hear the word ‘justice’ thrown around a lot these days. “Social justice,” “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” “justice for Breonna Taylor,” and so on. Micah, among other prophets, also used the word as a primary instruction to the people of God, saying, “Do justice.” Before we can understand what it means to ‘do’ this thing called justice, we have to understand what the Bible means by ‘justice’ itself. With over 400 uses in the Biblical text, the Word of God makes clear what is ‘justice.’
In this midst of a continuing pandemic, and amidst the varying hardships overwhelming our nation, you make ask of God, what do you want of us? How can we see your divine healing in this land? Micah offers guidance in just such a situation – so listen to the Lord. The answer is living with God, and living for others. Do justice. Love Kindness. Walk humbly with your God.
It may be Easter in exile, but we are not left on our own to fend for ourselves. We are empowered by the risen Christ to claim that new life, eternal love, and God’s glory are designed for all people. This means not only feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and offering our thoughts and prayers to those who are harmed by the sin of racism; it also means doing the hard work of leading systemic change that keeps people hungry, keeps people homeless, and inequitably causes harm to communities of color.
It is Easter in Exile, and God has a promise, that in Christ, in the resurrection, a new covenant is born. May this season of exile in our lives lead us to claim God’s promise not just for ourselves, but for everyone born, that everyone may know God’s almighty love.
The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard isn’t about the laborers, and it’s not about the vineyard. Jesus says it’s about the landowner. To understand the Kingdom as Jesus describes it, we must re-hear the text as a provocative call to radical justice that cares more about the well-being of the community than about any one person’s claim to wealth.
“Mary Did you Know” is a horrible song, which assumes that this pre-teen unwed pregnant female couldn’t have possible been intelligent enough to know about the child she carried. But in her own words, Mary makes clear, she knows the goodness of God that will come from the baby boy, who will one day save the nations.
While many will claim men as the sole representatives of faithful leading, we must claim and tell the stories of the women who have come before us and declare their witness as models, as mentors, and as leaders who have exemplified faithfulness in God’s continuing work for justice.